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Trader Joe's

I slide my socked feet into my shoes with a soft whick. Little T stops playing with the respite care worker "aaah?" He scoots on his butt, swinging his left arm, and knuckling his right hand, full speed ahead to his traiterous mother. "Aaah" I manage to tie both shoes before he reaches me, but not to stand up before he pulls up on me. He clings to my shirt and pulls "Gah" he says firmly. His meaning and motion very clear "Take me with you." I sigh and hug him tight and say softly, "I'm sorry sweetie. I can't." He arches his back, his face crumples into a ball of misery, and he bursts into tears. He doesn't understand much about the effects of steroids, but he does understand this. He's being left behind. Again. He wails at me and pulls at my shirt again. I hug him and tell him "I wish I could take you with me." and I remember other trips to Trader Joe's.

Back then I used to curse the fact that Trader Joe's carts only held one child. Little T rode in the front. I bought a nursing pillow that also converted to a shopping cart seat cover. Before Little T, I regarded such things as rather a joke -- a marketing ploy for overprotective parents. Special K rode without one, ate dirt and sand. But now Little T rode with a shopping cart seat cover to protect his medically fragile self from all the germs. Special K rode in the back in the main shopping cart. I piled the groceries around her, burying her in frozen peas, bread, milk, and Weetabix. She'd laugh and hold up a chocolate bar. Little T would laugh too. He'd try to grab it from her, but he was too far away. They'd giggle and giggle. Then Special K would hold up a tin of tomato sauce. This game continued until Special K was swimming in a sea of produce.

We'd reach the checkout and the checker would often stare. Some would comment on our strange arrangement "Looks like she's buried" "Is she one of the groceries?" One was almost afraid to reach in the cart. Special K would helpfully dump the food onto the counter. "I'll help!" she'd say proudly. She'd pretend to swipe the groceries on the laser.

Now our shopping trips to Trader Joe's are much more sedate. Special K tried sitting in the cart a few times without Little T, but it wasn't the same. Now she sits in the front. Our groceries stack neatly in the cart. Nobody giggles. Nobody comments. I used to count the days until Little T would be off steroids, and we could all shop at Trader Joe's again. Special K did too. She used to tell me "I want to go to Trader Joe's with [Little T]." But now she doesn't anymore. I don't even know if Little T remembers anymore. But I do and whenever Little T tugs on my shirt before I go to Trader Joe's, I feel sad.

Comments

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whymommy
Jan. 22nd, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
Awww aren't you sometimes envious of how children seem to adapt and forget so easily? *hugs*
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